Girls Want to Save the Day Too – Part 2

 

 

No post yesterday….I’m going to say it was in protest of SOPA.

Yep. Totally in protest of SOPA.

*ahem*

So, continuing my feminist rant…

It’s best to read that post before reading this one, otherwise you’ll most likely be completely lost.

Let’s go back to Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows for a moment.

Game of Shadows has three active female characters in the whole movie.

Let’s take apart their motivations and actions (not personality).

Simza: Gypsy woman who joins and helps Sherlock and Watson by sharing information, giving them passage to enemy territory and getting them out of danger, all for the sake of finding and saving her brother. She was only in London in order to find her brother.  Once she was part of the anarchist movement, but left it when it got dangerous. Her only motivation at this point is finding and rescuing her brother, and I doubt she is interested in stopping a war or stopping Moriarty (though to be fair, she has no reason to care…that’s where I think the writers could change it and give her something more, expanding her role).

Mary: Well, though at the end she seemed very happy to be part of taking Moriarty down, her primary motivations is to hear from and see her new husband. She’s a tough cookie and protects herself and her husband when danger arises, but other than that, she has no other goals or desires. If it weren’t for her husband, she wouldn’t even be in this mess.

Irene Adler: She’s very special to me, and not because she shares the same name as my mother, but because she had the potential to be the female version of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, the reason she’s in the movies at all is that in the stories she is one of the extremely few and probably the only woman to ever outwit Sherlock Holmes. She is also the only woman Holmes acknowledged and showed interest in, which is a big deal since Holmes practically hated women (he saw them as a distraction).

In the first movie, Adler was awesome because still, she could outsmart Holmes, like when she drugged him, and this put her on the same level as him.

BUT they ruined it by making her not only a Love Interest but by also cheapening her character by making her a bit selfish and a criminal.  She was only interested in money, her job with Moriarty ….and okay interested in Holmes as well. Her role revolved around these two men and money and that was it.

In the second movie, well those who watched the movie know what happened with her.

And while it was great for the plot and for Holmes’ character development, for Adler and her role in the story it was…well limited and not at all living up to her true potential.

Often you will find female characters in these types of movies where their motivation lies strictly with money and survival. This is a trick. It makes it seem like they are strong, independent women, but that’s not equality. Why is it that for a woman to be seen as strong and smart, she has to lower her moral standards? This is not equality. I call it a trick because it fakes it. It looks as if they are strong and equal to men, but not really because they had to sacrifice something in order to get there and that’s not how it works or rather, not how it should work.

 

~~~~

 

So, how should it work? What is it that I’m looking for?

Well, to be very clear, this has little to do with the characters itself and her personality, and more about her behavior, motivations and role in the plot.

What she does, why she does it and how it influences the plot.

Take for example….

Claudia from Interview of the Vampire: Kills Lestat in order to be free, completely changing her life, Louis’ life and the plot from then onwards. She didn’t do it for Louis. She did it for her own desire to be free and get closer to know the truth about her kind and also the fact Lestat pretty much ruined her life. This she shared with Louis. They were equals, wanting the same thing (though with different ideas on how to get it). But her role is not the Hateful Bitch, because once Lestat was gone, her story didn’t finish. She didn’t dedicate her life for vengeance. He was just a temporary obstacle.

Lyra from The Golden Compass: She almost enters the realm of the Selfish Bitch (kind of hard to call her a bitch when she’s so young, so don’t take the title too literally), but she’s a kid. She lies to get what she wants, but she still has strong moral character. She also has a strong desire for adventure. She wants to find the truth of everything that is happening and wants to rescue her friends.  She is interested in the secrets of the compass, and to right wrongs. She also wants to find her father, but it’s not her sole motivation for everything she does. Being the main character, this might seem like obvious behavior, but her character is still very rare, which is why I love her so much.

In my opinion, the movies where female characters shine the most brilliantly and play roles truly equal to men are those with both female protagonists and female antagonists.

One of the best examples is Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.

There are many characters in this movie. The best part is that for every male character, there was almost always a female counterpart. This could definitely be one of those rare movies where the female and male roles are equally distributed 50/50.

And this is also proof that just because a character is secondary doesn’t mean they have to fall into standard roles.

Without giving the entire movie away, Princess Mononoke is about a boy, Ashitaka, who finds himself caught between two worlds: the natural world and the industrial world.

He is also caught between two women (not romantically), who represent each world.

The movie has several named female characters with important roles, but I want to talk about the most important ones, San and Lady Eboshi.

San: A young girl, raised by a wolf-god mother (another very awesome female character with a very important role) and her pups, San wants to protect her forest and all the animals from the humans who are tearing it down. She fights for herself, her home and her family. Even after she falls in love, she doesn’t fall into any role and doesn’t change her values just because of him. In fact, she even attacks him after he rescues her sworn enemy.

Lady Eboshi: Leader and (I believe) founder of Iron Town, a city built on the edge of the forest known for its iron.  The city is practically run by women Eboshi took from the streets as prostitutes and gave them real jobs, a real future. She also took in lepers and takes care of them.  Despite her coldhearted way of killing the forest gods and cutting down the trees, her motivations are strictly practical. She’s not evil, but is simply defending her way of life just as San is defending hers.

Ashitaka is caught up between these two women who want to kill each other, but he doesn’t hate either. In fact, he understands them both and even though he falls for San, he still protects Eboshi, even when she nearly kills them all.

In other words, all three of them are equal, not one dependent solely on the actions of the other.

Watch the movie to see what I mean. It’s amazing.

 

~~~

 

Basically, it all comes down to equality.

That’s what I want.

This whole rant sparked inside of me years ago and it always comes back to the surface of my mind the same way.

I’m sitting in the movie theater, watching a kickass movie. One time, it was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. And I remember, after watching it for the third time, thinking:

“Why is it that I want to be more like Jack Sparrow than I wanted to be Elizabeth?”

 

This has happened to me again and again. My role models were all men.

Sherlock Holmes.

Jack Sparrow.

Iron Man.

Luke Skywalker.

Jesus.

Buddha.

(Oh Yes, I went there).

So this is the point of these posts.

I want more characters like them that are female.

A character like Sherlock Holmes, but female.

A character like Jack Sparrow, but female.

A character like Morpheus or Neo from The Matrix, but female.

A character like Jesus or Buddha, but female.

(YES I WENT THERE)

This would be TRUE equality.

Just because you give the girl a black belt in kicking ass, give her a large gun or make her sneaky, that doesn’t mean she’s equal to the guy right beside her who’s saving the goddamn world!

Thank you!

*drops mike, walks off stage*

 

What about you? Agree? Disagree?  Anything else to add?

Also, if anyone has any great recommendations of books, movies or graphic novels where female characters truly shine, please let me know in the comments. Lately, I’ve been running dry.

 

 

*Also, please forgive the religious cameos. I know they might have been or were real people and this post is about fantasy/scifi fiction, but please don’t take offense.  Not having a religious or spiritual female icon to look up is just as frustrating as everything else I mentioned and that’s why I included them. If you were insulted by their mention, I’m very sorry.

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Hollywood — A Request from an Action Junkie

Nothing disappoints me more than a movie or T.V. show with a great idea or opportunity, but fails to deliver or execute—even worse if they limit themselves.

I love Transformers. I loved the different cartoon shows on T.V. and I even enjoyed these movies…to an extent.

I recently, finally watched the third one on DVD and I wished I had watched it in theaters.

The action was so amazing! In fact, that is pretty much the only reason I love the movies so much. The action is so amazing. That and that Sam Witwicky character is fun to follow around.

But what’s probably my favorite scene in this movie, is a tiny moment, probably less than a minute, where that Director of Intelligence lady (or whoever she was) walked up to the autobots (the good robots) to talk to them for the first time. In this scene, the other autobots explain that Optimus (their leader) isn’t talking to anyone, that he seems upset and as one autobot put it: “He’s pissed.”

I loved that scene. I must have rewinded and played that short scene over and over again.

Because it was probably the only scene in the entire movie where it seemed like Transformers were more than just machines with cliché one liners and cardboard personalities.

In this scene they had personality, they had emotions.

Optimus was pissed.

I loved the Transformers show on tv not because it’s about robots that could turn into things and then fought other robots that also could turn into things. I loved it because these robots that could turn into things were like real people that had drama.

My favorite Transformer is Starscream, who’s actually a bad guy. Now I’m not a die hard Transformers fan. I don’t know the complete canon or storyline of the comics or Japanese tv shows or watched any of them in their entirety. In fact, the version of Starscream that I fell in love with was from the Transformers: Armada cartoon, which was technically an anime and…well apparently a lot of fans really hated (though I enjoyed it enough).

Anyways! Starscream was cool int he cartoons and comics because he was always fighting with Megatron and I loved how in Armada he turned good before dying. I really loved that.

Of course, in the Transformers movie trilogy he was the stereotype cardboard villain just like the rest of them. I sort of expected it, but it is still disappointing. At least in the original Transformers continuity he was interesting enough to be constantly fighting with Megatron to seize control over who will lead the bad guys.

Not here though.

There is so much potential with these characters, but instead we get an action flick that is just all action and little of anything else.

I’m not really surprised, but I kind of wish people would get tired of this already.

Even worse than the lack of personality, was that the only two female characters either had no personality and was just there to look pretty and be rescued or used as comic relief also insulted me. Can’t women fight too? Or want to figure out what the villains were up to along with the guys?

For action, it’s an amazing movie. For Transformer love, I had that tiny, itty bitty scene where Optimus seemed like a real person.  And that was pretty much it.

I wonder what would have happened if they actually tried. If they did create a solid, complex story and intriguing meaningful characters, and actually give the damn robots more human qualities that they had in the damn comics and cartoons?

What if they actually did the opposite of what we’ve seen so far in regards to sci-fi action flicks?

Like we’ve seen with Inception.

I would like to see more of that, thank you.

 

P.S. In regards to sci-fi action flicks, I also hear Hollywood is looking to remake the anime classic Akira. …Don’t. Do. It. Please. I beg you. Leave Akira alone!!

 

P.P.S. Actually, you want to do know what happens when they do put in depth characters and plots into sci-fi and fantasy movies? Oscar nominations happen. Freaking OSCARS!

 

That is all.

Sub-Genre Smash Up (Part Two) Flash Fiction: The Ivory Flower

It’s Friday and that means Chuck Wendig hosted another Flash Fiction Challenge….and that today’s the deadline for last week’s challenge.

This one, I had to do.  It’s another Sub-Genre Smash-Up. The last time I did one it was a Superhero Noir (Which you can no longer see since it’s under heavy reconstruction *cough*) and I loved the result so much that I had to do this one as well, especially when an idea came  rushing to me out of nowhere.

It’s Cyberpunk Sword & Sorcery this time.

Honestly, there was much more I wanted to do here and there’s more telling than showing in the last half than I would have liked, but alas, it’s only 1000 words. If anything, this is sort of a blue-print, a plan, an idea for what can be a much longer and deeper story that I’d like to do one day.

So here ya go. Something new for a change!

 

~~~~

The Ivory Flower

 

Ryan scratched his synthetic red hair as he followed their money ticket – CEO of Medical Solutions Corporation, Vivian Pearl. “We can’t trust a chick like her.  Lyon? Lyon, you listening?”

The six-foot blond giant blinked and looked at him, his face an unemotional mask. “Oh. Yes, brother?”

The idiot didn’t even bother to move his lips, sending the words directly to Ryan’s neurocomp.

“Hey, can’t you stay off the Net for a single minute? We’re on a mission here.”

“Yes. Sorry,” Lyon said, the words issuing from his lips this time. “I agree, but the live video feed she showed us was authentic, not altered in any way.”

Ryan bit the inside of his cheek. “I know. I checked myself. But still…”

Lyon stopped walking and Ryan added, “I’m not giving up! Anything if it means…What is it?”

“…Someone’s following us.

“Huh. That was fast,” Ryan said, already searching for the person’s neuronet access point.

But Ryan couldn’t find any. There was just…nothing.

He wondered if his brother had been mistaken when a cloaked figure rushed towards them, pulling out a sword.

Lyon stepped in front of Ryan. The blade sliced right through his electronic guts–oil and lubricant spilling onto the street. The android smashed a large fist against the side of the assailant’s head. The body hit the ground like a bag of rocks.

Ryan grabbed his brother’s arm. “Easy! Don’t kill him! Are you okay?”

Lyon removed the blade from his body calmly and seemed fine. Ryan pulled back the assassin’s hood and blinked as he realized it was actually a girl wearing metal armor. He recognized flower symbol etched on her chestplate and spun around.

“Hey, what’s the meaning of—”

The CEO was gone. Ryan quickly scanned the area, looking for her neuro signature, but found nothing.

“GODDAMNIT!”

~~~~

“So let me get this straight,” Ryan said. “You’re from another world.”

Danielle, as she called herself, nodded. “Yes. The magic of the Emerald Orb transported us here a year ago. My sister, her Royal Highness Princess Vivian, and next in line for the throne, currently possesses it.”

“Yes, because magic exists in your world,” Ryan said, rubbing his head.

“I apologize for the attack. I was too desperate.” She took his hand. “Please, help me. I need the Orb. My sister and I need to return home!”

Ryan swallowed. “Lyon, are you listening to this?”

His brother was sitting in the corner of their electronic junk shop of an apartment, making repairs to his body. He shrugged.

“Useless,” Ryan muttered with a sigh. “Alright. We’ll help you.”

Danielle’s face lit up. “You will?!”

“With one condition.” Ryan pointed to the flower on her armor. “I need this.”

Danielle blinked and glanced at the design. “The Ivory Flower?”

“It’s long been extinct, but your sister showed it to us,” Ryan said. “I’ll help you get your Orb if you help me get this flower.”

“It’s our country’s most secret royal artifact,” Danielle said, worry in her voice. “One flower blooms once every ten years. Its petals have kept our leaders healthy and youthful for centuries. I can’t even explain how important this flower is to our nation…”

“Just one petal then,” Ryan said. “It’s important.”

Danielle was quiet for a moment.

“Very well.”

Ryan grinned and shook her hand. “It’s a deal.”

 

~~~~

 

The next night, after formulating a quick plan, Ryan, Danielle and Lyon broke into Medical Solution Corporation Headquarters.

Three went in, but only one returned.

 

~~~~

 

Ryan stepped into his dark apartment.

He sat quietly at his console, his burnt hands throbbing.

The events played on an endless loop on his neurocomp and he made a note to delete the memories, but not right now. He needed to remember or he’d wonder why Lyon wasn’t in his usual chair.

What Danielle failed to mention was that her sister, Queen-To-Be Vivian, was a powerful sorceress and that even the simplest spells caused neurocomps to go haywire, rendering him useless.

They were cornered by Vivian’s magic and defense systems. They were going to all be blasted to bits. But Lyon. Stupid Lyon….

Ryan pushed a button on the console and a panel in the wall slid up into ceiling. It revealed a glass chamber. A young boy laid inside, deep in cryogenic sleep. Ryan stood and touched the glass, fingering the name plate: “Leon.”

The transfer to the android body wasn’t without its bugs. The stupid kid forgot his own name, convinced it was Lyon and not Leon.

It didn’t matter now.

Ryan closed his eyes. He could still see it, feel it. The explosion as Lyon self-destructed, taking with him all of Vivian’s defense weapons and everything else in the Command Room…including the glass case holding the Ivory Flower.

It was fitting. Without Lyon, Ryan no longer needed the stupid thing anyways.

The explosion also activated the Orb, which Vivian held in her hands. Danielle tackled her to the ground as green electricity engulfed them both.

Danielle looked to him, said something he couldn’t hear, and vanished.

Well, Ryan sure learned his lesson.

Don’t make deals with princesses?

Ryan nodded. “Exactly.”  His eyes widened. “LYON!?”

Yo!

“But where are you?!”

I uploaded myself to your internal server. You didn’t even notice. I guess my death must have hit you pretty hard, huh? Yes, I know, I know. There there. Don’t cry.

Ryan laughed. It wasn’t Lyon. It was Leon! His personality was back.

“We’ll return you to your body,” he decided. “It should last at least a little bit. We’ll figure something—”

His words cut off as he gasped in pain. A sharp, high pitched interference violated his senses.

Danielle stepped out of the magic  portal that appeared briefly in the middle of his living room. Her hair was longer and the Orb was embedded into a gauntlet on her arm.

She held in her hands…

“I told you I’d come back,” she said as she smiled and offered him the Ivory Flower.

The Promotion

Okay, remember when I said there be two posts today?

I lied. I lied hardcore. But according to Chuck Wendig, that’s what we writers are.

Liars.

So can’t help it apparently.

So anyways, I guess I’ll do what I always do when I don’t have something prepared and time has run out.

Provide an old story I wrote ages ago.

(I was actually going to post a brand spanking new story, but it just wouldn’t come.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll make its beautiful appearance).

Let’s see what’s buried on my hard drive…

Here’s something. This was my one of first serious attempts at a standalone short story. I’m a novel sort of girl and even then I can’t leave it at one novel (my novels come in threes), so it was definitely difficult to write an entire story with a definite ending in 1000 words. It has gotten easier with practice.

I liked this one, though others didn’t apparently since it was rejected. Ah well.

Fair warning, some mild violence ahead.

Enjoy!

 

AN OFFICER’S PROMOTION

 

 

Officer Zane had a bad feeling. He stood on the bridge that led to the entrance of the Guerra colony. A grunt of no rank worth mentioning was waiting for his electronic signature. It was for the cargo ship that just delivered the new battery plant. According to his official report, the old plant had broken down due to a soldier’s negligence.

Actually it had been Zane’s duty to inspect the plant, but he didn’t have the time to take care of it. The probation of an insignificant soldier was a small price to pay to keep his own record clean, but the malfunction left every weapon on the colony without power. They were defenseless.

Zane usually read every official letter he received, but this time he pressed his thumb onto the screen without even looking. The shadowy trees that enclosed the colony held his attention and he couldn’t look away.

It had been months since he had been stationed on this primitive planet and there never had been any problems. He was diligent and patient, expecting a promotion.

But now, something seemed off.

The day seemed normal. Most of the soldiers were on leave. Zane shoved aside a Private and his sweetheart and ignored the Private’s clumsy salute as he strained his ears. What was that sound? It was hard to hear over the mindless chatter around him.

The wind blew and the sound came more clearly. Screaming? He saw movement in the trees. A soldier staggered out and collapsed dead, back studded with spears. Zane watched as a swarm of children poured out of the trees like provoked army ants. Brown skinned boys wearing loincloths brandished bloodied spears. Their small bodies thundered down the clearing, their faces alive with excitement.

By the time Officer Zane’s sharp mind had processed the situation, he was running in the opposite direction. It would take hours before the new battery plant was installed and their power restored. The primitives on the planet had been declared harmless. An attack had never been expected and the soldiers had no training in killing hundreds of bloodthirsty children. They were doomed. It was time retreat.

At the opposite end of the bridge, a tunnel led to the docks. Zane ran for it. He didn’t look back as the couple on the bridge screamed in agony. He couldn’t save them even if he wanted to—which he didn’t.
There was no time. The only spaceship on the planet was the cargo ship. It had been unloaded a few minutes ago and would soon take off. Zane had to make it. He had worked too hard to die now.

The narrow tunnel was crowded with new settlers and they slowed him down.  Zane had to dodge crying children and parents demanding answers. He didn’t bother explaining. They would soon get their answers from brats no older than their own. He knew abandoning his post was career suicide, but surviving was more important. He’d start over if he had to. It didn’t matter how long it took.

Once he left the tunnel, brilliant sunlight and chaos greeted him. The ship waited thirty feet away in the center of a lake. Along the shore, civilians and soldiers alike fought over the small boats that would take them to safety.

As the cries of the killing frenzy in the tunnel reached Zane’s ears, he raced down the everglade, prepared to fight for a boat. It wasn’t necessary. As the murdering swarm spilled out of the tunnel, panic erupted. Settlers abandoned the boats, throwing themselves into the lake.

Zane didn’t hesitate. He jumped into an empty boat and started the engine, but a hand grabbed his arm. A dying woman, impaled by a spear, stood in chest-deep water, holding up her child with the last ounce of her strength.

“Please… Please, take her!”

Zane was ready to hit the throttle and leave them both behind when he made eye contact with the little girl. Large, watery blue eyes looked at him with fear and confusion. He cursed and grabbed her.

The moment the girl left her mother’s arms, she began to cry. Zane sat her down on the bottom of the boat and did his best to ignore her. The ship was taking off. He zigzagged his way across the lake, dodging spears and floating bodies.

A shadow loomed over his boat. Without thinking, he threw his body over the child. Pain struck him as a spear sank into his shoulder, splattering the toddler’s face with blood. She screamed. Zane wanted to apologize and wipe the blood away and beg her to stop crying—it was giving him a headache.

There was no time for that. He looked up. The cargo bay doors were still open. Gathering the child in his good arm, he stood on the edge of the boat. Spears whistled by left and right. The doors started to close. He jumped.

The cargo doors snapped shut as Zane rolled across the metal floor. The spear twisted in his shoulder and the child bawled in his ears. His vision swam and shadowy figures appeared at his side. Someone took the little girl from his arms.

“Thank you,” he gasped, ears still ringing.

Zane grunted with pain as they removed the spear. He couldn’t see them, but heard them speak in hushed tones.

“Damn. It’s poisoned.”

“Do we have the antidote?”

“Use the broad spectrum stuff. Hopefully it’ll work.”

Dread washed over him. Was he still going to die? After everything he’d worked for? Everything he’s suffered?

At least the child is safe, he thought. The only noble deed he’s ever done in his life. Would it be enough to get into heaven?

“That child… Is that Marianne Sinclair?”

“Wait, General Sinclair’s daughter?”

“His wife and daughter were on the roster. They came on vacation.”

“My God…”

There was a sharp pain as the antidote was injected. His vision darkened, but Officer Zane smiled.

His promotion was secured.

A Blast from the Past

Maybe not so much a blast. Maybe more like…a burp? A hiccup?

The first story I physically wrote down on paper that I can remember was an unfinished piece where my brother and I were superheroes not unlike the X-men. It was called “The Adventures of Amber the Brave and David the Warrior.”

But it would be slightly less than a decade before I wrote something a bit more serious.

I was fifteen and I just started High School.  I was creating stories in my head for years before then, probably since I started watching Sailor Moon and other anime, inventing my characters in my head and putting them inside the episodes. But I never wrote them down. I thought writing was a chore back then.

In High School, I discovered a website where people could put up stories and others can comment on them. I always wanted to share my stories, but had no one willing to listen. Finally, I was shown a place where I could do that.

After being inspired by an alternate reality Gundam Wing fan-fic, I decided to write.

It was called Project AX.

In one night, I wrote a prologue and 3 chapters.

I still remember the shock on my mother’s face when I showed them to her. She said, “You can write?!”

I’m still not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.

Anyways! Here is the very short prologue of that first story…without any revisions.

I’ll leave up to you and my own inner critic if I’ve improved any since then.

*covers eyes*

~~~~

Project A.X.

Prologue:

It was a sunny day in the city of Gale. A circus was in town; you could hear the artificial lion’s roar a mile away. This was a circus of the 31st century and much has changed. Since all wild animals had been wiped out by a meteor that crashed into Earth in the year 2050, they had remarkable real artificial ones (they had mastered the science of artificial biotics, robots and cyborgs in 2020). The clowns were cyborgs with freakish faces that scared the hell out of little kids, but other than that, it was a circus that still brought excited children dragging there poor parents behind them in their rush.

The big tent was made of mythryl, the strongest man-made alloy named after the fabled magical metal from fantasy books. In fact, the whole city of Gale was built with this material.

A mother and her excited five-year-old daughter just approached the tent entrace.

“Excited, Kiana?” the woman said with a smile as she watched her five year old bounce on the balls of her small feet.

“Very!” the small girl answered, nodding excitedly.

“Then we better hurry.”

As they approached the ticket booth, Kiana had to strain her neck to see the teller. Behind the glass window was a woman with long silky black hair and eyes, wearing one of those ringmaster uniforms and a kind smile. It was rare to see a 100 organic human doing such trivial jobs, but it didn’t seem strange at the moment.

“Two, please.” the mother said, sliding the money under the glass, and the teller passed two tickets to her.

“Pass your child’s hand under the window to be stamped, please.” the teller said nicely. Though old fashion, it kept track of the children.

So with a lift of her mother, Kiana slid her hand under the glass and the teller pressed a metal stamp on the child’s skin. Kiana thought she felt a tiny prick on her hand, but thought nothing of it as her mother put her back on the ground and she glanced at her lion shape tattoo. With a thank you, they both walked into the tent. Suddenly, one of those freakish cyborg clowns appeared out of nowhere, scaring her mother to death. But Kiana just giggled as the clown asked her if she wanted a balloon with a mechanical voice that would make any kid run screaming to his mommy. But Kiana was so innocent that she had never experienced fear…yet.

While Kiana and her mother enjoyed the show, the woman from the ticket booth was walked around the tent until she reached a small building. She opened the door and walked in without knocking; it was a very small dark room with no windows and the only light came from the screen of a holographic-screen laptop that rested on a desk and was connected to some sort of scanning device. The woman sat down at the desk and took out the metal stamp from out of her shirt pocket. She removed the metal plate with the imprint of the lion and placed it into the scanner. Instantly a long list of names appeared on the screen and, as the woman typed on the keyboard, a search started through the names. Just then, a soft knock came from the door and a man wearing the ringmaster uniform came in.

“Have you found a match yet, Dr.,” he said in a voice full of respect.

“Not yet, but I will soon and don‘t call me Dr, call me Silvia.” the woman replied without taking her eyes off the screen.

“Yes, Silvia. So what do we do if we don’t find it here? We’ve already searched five planets,” said the man as he walked up behind her.

“Don’t worry, I have a good feeling about this place. We’ll find a match and Project: A.X will start at last. There!” she said suddenly as the search stopped and a single name flashed on the screen.

“We’ve found her, finally.” Silvia said with a grin that looked nothing like the one she gave at the booth; this one looked sinister.

On the holographic-screen flashing was:

KIANA SPRITE AGE 5, BLOOD TYPE: X

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